How does hyperthyroidism cause diarrhea?

How does hyperthyroidism cause diarrhea?

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According to Robbin's Pathology, hyperthyroidism leads to an overactivity of the sympathetic system.

It also goes on to mention that this sympathetic hyperstimulation in the gut leads to increased motility leading to diarrhea and malabsorption.

How would sympathetic stimulation cause hypermotility? Isn't the parasympathetic system responsible for it?

Also, how does hyperthyroidism increase the sympathetic tone?

Hyperthyroidism leads to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, hypermotility and diarrhea (Culp and Piziak 1986) (Geffner and Hershman 1992) (Maitra 2015, p. 1084) (Thomas et al. 1973). A demonstration of this is the patient presenting with the sole symptom of intractable diarrhea. It was found to be secondary to hyperthyroidism, and was treated successfully with β-adrenergic antagonists (Bricker et al. 2001).

Was the hypermotility due to excessive β-adrenergic activity, or insufficient α-adrenergic activity?

An article by Silva and Bianco (2008) states that β-receptor expression is under transcriptional control of a thyroid response element, and is upregulated by increased thyroid signalling. There is much less research on α-receptor expression, I would be much obliged if anyone can provide me with access to the following article:

*Bilezikian, JP, Loeb JN 1983, 'The Influence of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism on α and β-Adrenergic Receptor Systems and Adrenergic Responsiveness', Endocrine Reviews, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 378-388.*

In any case, they add that increased β-receptor expression is rather modest, often overestimated, and cannot account for the magnitude of amplification in responsiveness induced by thyroid hormone (TH). Rather, thyroid signalling increases cAMP levels associated with a2 and β-receptors to a degree which could account for these changes.

Increased cAMP occurs during normal β-receptor function but is significantly potentiated by TH in several ways: increases in adenylyl cyclase; downregulation of β-receptor G-protein subunits, Gai and Gβ; and downregulation of phosphodiesterases which degrade cAMP. This explains the effectiveness of the β-adrenergic antagonist noted above, as propranolol decreases cAMP levels, thus decreasing hypersensitivity of the hyperproliferated β-receptor (Silva and Bianco 2008).

“The reduction of the sympathetic activity associated with hyperthyroidism outflow (via increased rate of norepinephrine metabolism to decrease overall levels) is likely overridden by the increased sensitivity, as suggested by the clinically significant amelioration of the adrenergic symptoms with β-adrenergic blockage and the consistent observation of elevated cAMP production.” (Silva and Bianco 2008).

What are the effects of preferential/hyperactive β-receptor function on gastrointestinal motility?

The β1-receptor increases ghrelin secretion from the stomach - a peptide secreted when the stomach is empty to increase hunger, increase gastric acid secretion and gastrointestinal motility. The β2-receptor promotes smooth muscle relaxation (decreased GI motility) but contracts sphincters of the GI tract (Adrenergic receptor 2018).

β-adrenergics also promote the secretion of gastrin - a peptide which increases antral muscle mobility and promotes stomach contractions; relaxes the pyloric sphincter, which increases the rate of gastric emptying; is involved in the relaxation of the ileocecal valve; induces pancreatic secretions and gallbladder emptying; and contributes to the gastrocolic reflex (Gastrin 2018) (Katzung and Trevor 2014, p. 143-144).

What are the effects of relative α-receptor deficiency on gastrointestinal motility?

Considering that β-receptor antagonism causes a relative increase in α-receptor activation we should consider them also. The α1-receptor causes smooth muscle contraction. The α2-receptor causes negative feedback on norepinephrine signalling, relaxes the gastrointestinal tract when activated on presynaptic terminals and contracts of sphincters in the GI tract. It does this by decreasing levels of cAMP (whereas β-receptors work by increasing cAMP) and so it will become less active as TH becomes more active (Adrenergic receptor 2018) (Silva and Bianco 2008).

What are the adrenergic-mediated effects of hyperthyroidism on gastrointestinal motility?

Under prolonged conditions of excess TH overall peristalsis will increase due to mixed effects on smooth muscle contraction primarily via α1, and β2. There will be an increase in hunger and gastric acid secretion via ghrelin (Adrenergic receptor 2018). Hyperphagia and hypermotility are both suggested to play a part in steatorrhea (Culp and Piziak 1986).

How does hypermotility cause diarrhoea?

In addition to the mechanisms above, it has also been suggested that excessive fatty food intake contributes to the steatorrhea seen in patients with hyperthyroidism. This is compounded by a reduction in time that digestive secretions can act on chyme, ultimately leading to a reduction in absorption and an increased liquidity of the stool (R Santra, Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, 2016).

Finally, it is important to note at this point that not everyone with hyperthyroidism will show hypermotility - some hyperthyroid patients show delayed gastric emptying (Pustorino et al. 2004). Indeed, constipation has been reported in patients with hyperthyroidism (Culp and Piziak 1986). Nonetheless, it is held that dysthyroidisms alter the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, and we do not completely understand how this works (Pustorino et al. 2004).


Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, happens when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs.

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that control the way the body uses energy. These hormones affect nearly every organ in your body and control many of your body's most important functions. For example, they affect your breathing, heart rate, weight, digestion, and moods. If not treated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious problems with your heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and fertility. But there are treatments that can help.

What causes hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism has several causes. They include

  • Grave's disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your thyroid and causes it to make too much hormone. This is the most common cause.
  • Thyroid nodules, which are growths on your thyroid. They are usually benign (not cancer). But they may become overactive and make too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid nodules are more common in older adults.
  • Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid. It causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland.
  • Too much iodine. Iodine is found in some medicines, cough syrups, seaweed and seaweed-based supplements. Taking too much of them can cause your thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone.
  • Too much thyroid medicine. This can happen if people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) take too much of it.

Who is at risk for hyperthyroidism?

You are at higher risk for hyperthyroidism if you

  • Are a woman
  • Are older than age 60
  • Have been pregnant or had a baby within the past 6 months
  • Have had thyroid surgery or a thyroid problem, such as goiter
  • Have a family history of thyroid disease
  • Have pernicious anemia, in which the body cannot make enough healthy red blood cells because it does not have enough vitamin B12
  • Have type 1 diabetes or primary adrenal insufficiency, a hormonal disorder
  • Get too much iodine, from eating large amounts of foods containing iodine or using iodine-containing medicines or supplements

What are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism?

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary from person to person and may include

  • Nervousness or irritability
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble tolerating heat , usually in your hands
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Goiter, an enlarged thyroid that may cause your neck to look swollen. Sometimes it can cause trouble with breathing or swallowing.

Adults over age 60 may have different symptoms than younger adults. For example, they may lose their appetite or withdraw from other people. Sometimes this can be mistaken for depression or dementia.

What other problems can hyperthyroidism cause?

If hyperthyroidism isn't treated, it can cause some serious health problems, including

  • An irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart problems
  • An eye disease called Graves' ophthalmopathy. It can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain. In rare cases, it can lead to vision loss.
  • Thinning bones and osteoporosis such as premature birth, low birth weight, high blood pressure in pregnancy, and miscarriage

How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?

Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:

  • A medical history, including asking about symptoms
  • A physical exam , such as
      , T3, T4, and thyroid antibody blood tests , such as a thyroid scan, ultrasound, or radioactive iodine uptake test. A radioactive iodine uptake test measures how much radioactive iodine your thyroid takes up from your blood after you swallow a small amount of it.
  • What are the treatments for hyperthyroidism?

    The treatments for hyperthyroidism include medicines, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery:

    • Medicines for hyperthyroidism include
      • Antithyroid medicines, which cause your thyroid to make less thyroid hormone. You probably need to take the medicines for 1 to 2 years. In some cases, you might need to take the medicines for several years. This is the simplest treatment, but it is often not a permanent cure.
      • Beta blocker medicines, which can reduce symptoms such as tremors, rapid heartbeat, and nervousness. They work quickly and can help you feel better until other treatments take effect.

      If you have hyperthyroidism, it's important not to get too much iodine. Talk to your health care provider about which foods, supplements, and medicines you need to avoid.

      Causes of Hyperthyroidism

      The most common causes include

      Toxic multinodular goiter

      Graves disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, is an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disorder, the person's immune system produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissues. Usually, the antibodies damage cells and worsen their ability to function. However, in Graves disease, the antibodies stimulate the thyroid to produce and secrete excess thyroid hormones into the blood. This cause of hyperthyroidism is often hereditary and almost always leads to enlargement of the thyroid.

      Toxic multinodular goiter (Plummer disease), in which there are many nodules (small lumps), one or more of which may start to produce and secrete excess thyroid hormone. This disorder is more common with aging but is uncommon in adolescents and young adults.

      A toxic (overactive) thyroid nodule (a benign tumor, or adenoma) is an area of abnormal local tissue growth within the thyroid gland. This abnormal tissue produces thyroid hormones even without stimulation by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones). Thus, a nodule escapes the mechanisms that normally control the thyroid gland and produces thyroid hormones in large quantities.

      Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid gland. The inflammation can be caused by a viral infection (subacute thyroiditis), autoimmune thyroid inflammation that occurs after childbirth (silent lymphocytic thyroiditis), and, much less often, chronic autoimmune inflammation (Hashimoto thyroiditis). At first, the inflammation causes hyperthyroidism as stored hormones are released from the inflamed gland. Later on, hypothyroidism usually follows because the levels of stored hormones are depleted. Finally, the gland usually returns to normal function.

      Other causes of hyperthyroidism include

      Some drugs, including too much thyroid hormone taken orally

      Rarely overstimulation due to an overactive pituitary gland

      Drugs and iodine can cause hyperthyroidism. Drugs include amiodarone , interferon-alpha, programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibitors (such as nivolumab and pembrolizumab ), alemtuzumab , and, rarely, lithium . Excess iodine, as may occur in people taking certain expectorants, or in those given iodine-containing contrast agents for x-ray studies, may cause hyperthyroidism. Taking too much thyroid hormone orally can also cause hyperthyroidism.

      An overactive pituitary gland can produce too much thyroid-stimulating hormone, which in turn leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones. However, this is an extremely rare cause of hyperthyroidism.

      Hyperthyroidism Symptoms

      When you have hyperthyroidism, your body is producing excessive amounts of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Since these hormones regulate your metabolism (how your body processes and uses energy), having too high a level will cause symptoms related to a high metabolism. In essence, hyperthyroidism speeds up some of your body's processes.

      However, not everyone with hyperthyroidism will experience all of the symptoms listed below. These are all the possible symptoms, but symptoms vary based on how long your thyroid gland has been producing too much T3 and T4, how much extra T3 and T4 you have, and your age.

      Here's what you may experience with hyperthyroidism:

      Hyperthyroidism can cause different bodily functions to speed up, leading to jitters, anxiety, or even a racing pulse, making it difficult to get a good night's sleep. (Photo:123rf)

      • Appetite change (decrease or increase)
      • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
      • Fatigue
      • Frequent bowel movement—perhaps diarrhea
      • Heart palpitations
      • Heat intolerance
      • Increased sweating
      • Irritability
      • Light menstrual periods—perhaps even missed periods
      • Mental disturbances
      • Muscle weakness
      • Nervousness
      • Problems with fertility
      • Shortness of breath
      • Sudden paralysis
      • Tremor/shakiness
      • Vision changes
      • Weight loss-but perhaps weight gain
      • Dizziness
      • Thinning of hair
      • Itching and hives
      • Possible increase in blood sugar

      If Graves' disease is the underlying cause of your hyperthyroidism, there are some additional symptoms associated with that. Please read our article on Graves' disease symptoms to learn more about those.

      Hyperthyroidism is caused by many reasons. Most commonly, the entire thyroid gland is overproducing thyroid hormone. But sometimes, only a single nodule (part of the thyroid gland) is responsible for the over secretion of hormone. The nodule working abnormally is called as &ldquohot nodule&rdquo. This nodule or lump in thyroid gland increases in size and shows hyper functioning. Inflammation of thyroid gland or thyroiditis is a common cause of Hyperthyroidism. The major causes of thyroid condition in humans are as follows:

      Graves&rsquo Disease

      Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease, is a major reason for an overactive thyroid gland. This is thought to be due to varying levels of iodine in the diet. It is eight times more common in females than in males and often occurs in young females, around 20 &ndash 40 years of age.

      In this case, antibodies produced by your immune system stimulate your thyroid gland to produce too much of T-4. Normally, the immune system utilizes these antibodies to help protect against viruses, bacteria and other harmful substances that attack your body. If you have Graves' disease, the antibodies attack your thyroid and sometimes certain tissues such as behind your eyes and the skin by mistake.

      This is the most common of all causes, and accounts for about 70 percent of all hyperthyroidism cases. It runs in families and is considered to have genetic basis.


      Sometimes, a condition, called thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism. It is characterized by inflammation of the thyroid, which causes T4 and T3 to leak from the gland into your bloodstream. It may be associated with secretion of excess thyroid hormone, but usually results in gland dysfunction.

      Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules

      Sometimes, nodules or lumps or adenomas may grow in the thyroid and they produce too much of hormone due to increased level of their activity. An adenoma is a part of the gland that has grown itself off from the rest of the gland and form noncancerous tissues that may cause an enlargement of the gland. But all adenomas do not produce excess T-4.

      Excessive Iodine Intake

      A function of your thyroid gland is to remove iodine from the blood. Iodine comes from a variety of foods such as seafood, bread, and salt. The thyroid gland uses this iodine to produce hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

      If you take too much of additional iodine in supplements, it can cause the gland to produce excessive hormones.

      Further, patients who consume thyroid hormones as a treatment may also be vulnerable if the right dose of thyroid medication is not given.

      Certain Medications

      Some medications contain a large amount of iodine (for example some medicines for heart problems). They may alter your thyroid function.

      Follicular thyroid cancer

      Though rare, but in some cases, thyroid cancer can cause overactive thyroid. Cancerous cells may produce additional thyroxine or triiodothyronine.

      Other causes of hyperthyroidism may include:

      • Oral consumption of excess thyroid hormone tablets
      • Ground beef contaminated with thyroid tissue is a rare but possible cause of Hyperthyroidism. It is also called as hamburger hyperthyroidism.
      • Amiodarone, an anti-arrhythmic drug which is structurally similar to thyroxine may cause hyperactivity of the thyroid.
      • Postpartum thyroiditis (PPT) occurs in about 7% of women during the year after they give birth. PPT typically has several phases, the first of which is hyperthyroidism.
      • tumors in ovaries or testes
      • benign tumors of the thyroid or pituitary gland

      high levels of &lsquohuman chorionic gonadotrophin&rsquo in your body &ndash this can occur during pregnancy, in case of a multiple pregnancy or a molar pregnancy

      Bhavna Singh is a biotechnologist with a special interest in molecular biology, genetic engineering, recombinant DNA technology, and biochemistry. She pursued her Master&rsquos degree in Biotechnology from Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida. Bhavna has also worked as a Research Fellow at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi.

      Hyperthyroidism (Causes, Risk factors, and Complications)

      Definition: Hyperthyroidism (or overactive thyroid) is the condition that occurs due to excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of our neck. It produces tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which are two primary hormones that control how our cells use energy. Hyperthyroidism can accelerate our body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat.

      Hyperthyroidism is distinct from hypothyroidism. “Hyper” refers to the presence of too much thyroid hormone in the system. “Hypo” means too little, or an underactive thyroid.

      There are several possible causes and a wide range of potential symptoms. It usually begins slowly, but, in younger people, onset can be sudden. Signs and symptoms vary between people and may include irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, and diarrhea, enlargement of the thyroid, hand tremor, and weight loss. Symptoms are typically less in the old and during pregnancy.

      Here are some key points about hyperthyroidism:

      • Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone.
      • Graves’ disease is the most common cause.
      • Medication can usually normalize hormone levels, but treatment may take 1 to 2 years.
      • Untreated, hyperthyroidism can cause severe complications.
      • With treatment, pregnancy should be able to progress normally.

      An uncommon complication is thyroid storm in which an event such as an infection results in worsening symptoms such as confusion and a high temperature and often results in death. The opposite is hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

      Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism treatment involves surgery to remove all or part of our thyroid gland.

      Causes and Risk factors of Hyperthyroidism: There are several causes of hyperthyroidism. Most often, the entire gland is overproducing thyroid hormone. Less commonly, a single nodule is responsible for the excess hormone secretion, called a “hot” nodule. Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) can also cause hyperthyroidism. Functional thyroid tissue producing an excess of thyroid hormone occurs in a number of clinical conditions.

      Hyperthyroidism can be actually caused by a number of conditions, including Graves’ disease, Plummer’s disease, and thyroiditis. Other causes of hyperthyroidism include:

      • excess iodine, a key ingredient in T4 and T3
      • thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid, which causes T4 and T3 to leak out of the gland
      • tumors of the ovaries or testes
      • benign tumors of the thyroid or pituitary gland
      • large amounts of tetraiodothyronine taken through dietary supplements or medication

      Hypersecretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which in turn is almost always caused by a pituitary adenoma, accounts for much less than 1 percent of hyperthyroidism cases.

      Risk factors for hyperthyroidism, include:

      • A family history, particularly of Graves’ disease
      • Female sex
      • A personal history of certain chronic illnesses, such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, and primary adrenal insufficiency

      Without treatment, hyperthyroidism can seriously impact different bodily functions, including the heart. However, medication can normally control it by reducing thyroid hormone production.

      Complications of Hyperthyroidism: An uncommon complication is thyroid storm in which an event such as an infection results in worsening symptoms such as confusion and a high temperature and often results in death. The opposite is hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

      Hyperthyroidism can lead to a number of complications:

      • Heart problems
      • Brittle bones
      • Red, swollen skin
      • Eye problems
      • Thyrotoxic crisis

      The severity of hyperthyroidism and its symptoms depend on how well the body is able to react to the changes that result from the excess thyroid hormones, and how well patients follow their treatment plan.

      An overactive thyroid can also cause the following physical signs:

      • a swelling in your neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
      • an irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate (palpitations)
      • twitching or trembling
      • warm skin and excessive sweating
      • red palms of your hands
      • loose nails
      • a raised, itchy rash – known as hives (urticaria)
      • patchy hair loss or thinning – often despite an increased appetite
      • eye problems, such as redness, dryness or vision problems (see complications of an overactive thyroid)

      Hashimoto’s Symptoms

      If you’re reading this, you’re likely thinking, what about Hashimoto’s?

      Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that results in the immune system damaging the thyroid, which leads to a lack of thyroid hormone production. Most cases of hypothyroidism in the United States, and other countries that add iodine to their salt supply, are caused by Hashimoto’s.

      While Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism, there is a difference between Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. A person can have one, and not the other.

      Most cases of pure hypothyroidism can be remedied by taking thyroid hormones. However, as 97 percent of cases of hypothyroidism are due to advanced Hashimoto’s, the Hashimoto’s and the autoimmune attack will remain, even when proper levels of thyroid hormone are restored with medications (unless we find and treat the root cause).

      People with Hashimoto’s may experience BOTH hypothyroid and hyperthyroid symptoms because, as the thyroid cells are destroyed, stored hormones are released into circulation, causing a toxic level of thyroid hormone in the body. This is known as thyrotoxicosis, or Hashitoxicosis. Eventually, the stored thyroid hormones may become depleted, and due to thyroid cell damage, the body may no longer be able to produce enough hormones. This is when hypothyroidism develops.

      This explains why we see both symptoms of hyper- and hypothyroidism in people with Hashimoto’s, in addition to a few symptoms that are typical of Hashimoto’s — especially those related to gastrointestinal distress, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux (GERD), diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

      It also explains why the condition can look so different from person to person, as the symptoms are broad and frequently shifting.

      In addition to many of they symptoms we frequently see associated with hyper- and hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s commonly presents with:

      • Anxiety
      • Mood swings
      • Fatigue
      • Cold hands and feet
      • Gastrointestinal issues

      I personally experienced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anxiety, and advanced carpal tunnel in both hands, which required me to wear wrist braces. Despite my symptoms, however, I looked fine (except for some bloating). I had hair on my head (despite losing much of it) and I didn’t need crutches (although I experienced leg and muscle pain). When I came home from work, all I could do was eat, watch TV, and fall asleep on the couch. I was living proof that thyroid symptoms may affect someone, even though they may look fine on the outside!

      Some of these symptoms may have been directly related to insufficient thyroid hormone. Others may have been due to related issues (i.e. gut infections), which are seen in many people with Hashimoto’s. That’s why it’s important to identify the root causes of YOUR Hashimoto’s, so you can take the first steps toward healing!

      Thyroid Disorders

      As with other endocrine disorders, thyroid disorders are generally associated with either over or under-secretion of hormones. Abnormal secretion of thyroid hormones may occur for a variety of reasons.


      Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves&rsquo disease. Graves&rsquo disease is an autoimmune disorder in which abnormal antibodies produced by the immune system stimulate the thyroid to secrete excessive quantities of its hormones. This stimulation overrides the usual negative feedback mechanism that normally controls thyroid hormone output. Graves&rsquo disease often results in the formation of an enlarged thyroid (goiter) because of the continued stimulation to produce more hormones.

      Besides a goiter, other signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include protruding eyes (see photo below), heart palpitations, excessive sweating, diarrhea, weight loss despite increased appetite, muscle weakness, and unusual sensitivity to heat. Medications can be prescribed to mitigate the symptoms of the disease. Anti-thyroid drugs can also be given to decrease the production of thyroid hormones. If the drugs are ineffective, the gland can be partially or entirely removed. This can be done surgically or with the administration of radioactive iodine. Removal of the thyroid produces hypothyroidism.

      Figure (PageIndex<5>): Protruding eyes are one sign of hyperthyroidism, such as Graves&rsquo disease


      My hyperthyroidism symptoms are whole body tremors, shakiness, nervousness, panic attacks and dizziness.

      Rapid heartbeat, hands shaking, very hot (when typically always cold), hair loss, muscle weakness, and pain were my symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

      Weight loss was my symptom of hyperthyroidism.

      I have had a couple of ultrasounds on my neck to check for hyperthyroidism. I have lived with chronic neck pain for almost 2 years now. They have said that my thyroid is slightly high, but they are just watching it. My neck hurts on the sides and behind my ears and into my shoulders. I don&rsquot know what to do. I can&rsquot live like this!

      I have been taking methimazole for my hyperthyroidism. My body is covered with small freckle like dots and some large sores. Also my hair is falling out. I wish there was something I can take that won&rsquot cause these side effects.

      My hyperthyroidism symptoms are excessive sweating, weight loss, mood swings, body temperature always warm, craving for sugar, fatigue, diarrhea alternating with constipation, inability to sleep, and loss of sex drive.

      Thyroid disorder runs in our family but it's me who has this hyperthyroidism. It was found out last December 2016. The feeling of hot flashes, excessive sweat, depression, mood swings and tremors drive me crazy. My dad scolds me for waking up late everyday but what should I do! This is my health condition and no one in the house understands me. That feeling of loneliness and weakness even if I did nothing. I want to explain this to them, but still they don't understand me anyway. I am a college graduate and a licensed teacher but I cannot pursue what I love doing because of my health condition. My neck hurts when I speak a lot that's why I do not teach. I was a jolly and hardworking person before this happened to me. It has been 1 year plus since I started my medication but some of the symptoms are still there. Because of this, I cannot eat the food I love eating. I just want to be that person I used to be.

      My hyperthyroidism symptoms are hair loss (thinning), extreme dry skin, heart palpitations, chest tightness, dizziness, insomnia, lack of concentration, and heat intolerance to name the top annoyances from this disease. Weight loss for me is just maintaining. I wish I did. If anything, it makes me hungry so I have to control with increased protein and less carbs. For my heart palpitations and chest pains, I am currently on a beta blocker and it has helped tremendously. However, I am still not able to do cardio (running, aerobic) activity. The cause of my hyperthyroidism are two hot nodules on left lobe discovered in July 2017. They have swollen or grown (not sure) to the point where it feels like a constant sore throat and hard to swallow food. I have opted for a soft diet for now. I think I have adjusted my life a little too much for this condition. So guess what! I am taking my option to part ways with my thyroid March 7th to be replaced by a little pill every day. It was a hard decision but I do believe it to be the best for myself. Keep positive and smile everyone!

      I just found out I'm pregnant and I have a hyperthyroidism. My symptoms might be different. I feel terrible. I can't concentrate, and when I talk to people I speed up my conversation and talk like I have attention deficit disorder. I sweat, I'm hot, my heart feels like it will jump out of my chest, I can't get a restful sleep, I always have a mild headache, my hands shake, and my legs have tremor when I sit a certain way. I am so sad all the time, and I cry way too easily about every little thing. I'm worried and I'm not focused. I feel hyper, but at the same time I feel exhausted.

      I've felt lightheaded, dizzy, out of breath and I've had rapid resting heart rate for months. Initially I thought I was hypoglycemic or really out of breath. However, just a few weeks ago my condition worsened and I suddenly became extremely anxious and depressed (so much so that suicide has crossed my mind few times). I also started experiencing panic attacks, couldn't sleep, started having heart palpitations, I have to go to the bathroom all the time, I have no energy, I'm constantly out of breath, my legs and arms feel like Jell-O, my hair is falling out, and I've developed eczema basically, if there is a hyperthyroid symptom, I have it. It's been such a difficult journey because I'm normally a very happy, outgoing and determined person. I feel like I'm not myself anymore. I'm a graduate student and it's so hard to explain to my professors that what I'm suffering from is not regular anxiety but is actually caused by a physical medical condition. The hardest part however is trying to do things that normally make me very happy like hanging out with friends, teaching or analyzing literature and just feeling nothing. No happiness, just a constant feeling of hopelessness. This condition is ruining my life. I even had to quit my job as a teaching assistant (which I adored) because I would get panic attacks in the middle of class or need to throw up. If it wasn't for my loving boyfriend's support I don't know if I could keep going. I still have more tests to do before I can start my treatment (whether it be taking pills or getting radiation therapy).


      I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism a year ago, it hasn't been an easy year, been really tough. My emotions are all over the place and I can barely keep them under control. I have crazy mood swings. I'm tired all the time, I oversleep a lot, I just can&rsquot find the energy to get up in the mornings no matter how hard I try, and it is more difficult being a mother to a 2 year old. My body hurts more than ever. I can barely close my hands in the mornings, they feel so weak I don't have the strength. My heart races so much I can&rsquot get my own heart to slow down. I can walk around and do simple things and my heart feels like I just ran a marathon. I hate having the feeling that now my wellbeing and my heart rely on medicine. I feel like I can&rsquot live without it. I want to feel normal again. I miss what my life used to be like before all of this started. I get overwhelmed with this situation and I don't know what to do anymore. It feels like no matter who I talk to they just don't understand although they say they do. It feels like I'm about to lose my relationship because he doesn't understand my situation or the way I feel. Everybody tells me to tough it out but it&rsquos difficult. Easy for them to say when they don't know what I'm feeling. I'm getting tired of living this way. I'm really thinking about surgery, but I'm not so sure if that will fix anything. I just want to be a healthy mother for my son.

      I was diagnosed in 2009 with hyperthyroidism. At the time I was five months pregnant which made the situation even more devastating. My symptoms were rapid heartbeat, nervousness, headache, vomiting, severe depression, hot flashes, sweating, tremors and panic attacks. The worst part of it was when my child moved in my stomach I felt like I wanted to faint. On delivery day I went unconscious for 6 hours but thankfully I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. This is indeed a terrible sickness.

      It took 2 years to get the correct diagnosis of hyperthyroidism. I suffered terribly before finding out what was wrong. I couldn't sleep, because I had hot flashes that were so hot, I thought I was in an oven at 750 degrees. I slept 3 or 4 hours a night for 2 years before I got on medicine. In those 2 years I had such extreme foot/ankle/calf pain. I couldn't get out of the bed in the morning without holding onto the dresser for support. Finally, when I just started falling asleep at work I switched doctors and found out I had hyperthyroid, Graves&rsquo disease. My first doctor kept telling me it was menopause. She prescribed antidepressants which I refused to take. I knew I was really sick, but I think she just didn't get it. I became very foggy in the brain, had memory loss and confusion. It felt like my brain was swimming along the bottom of a murky lake. At the same time, I became very obsessive. I just kept talking about the same thing over and over, and I ran my charge card up to the moon. I was obsessive in buying things. It took over a year to lose the obsessiveness after getting the correct medicine, methimazole. My feet and ankles would blow up too, they looked like Herman Munster feet. Other times they would just get swollen. I had to stop working, because I couldn't function anymore. Now I am on medicine for 2 years. I've developed double vision. I switched doctors again. I am grateful to the family doctor who figured out what was wrong, but I am now seeing a thyroid specialist. I may be going for surgery. Will see. As of now, I have mood swings, get depressed because I do not feel well. I still hurt all over, but not as bad. I'm tired and have no energy. My hair is falling out. And I have horrible anxiety. And I can't lose the 55 lb. that I gained. I never was sick. So having this is very depressing. I just wish I could be normal again and not feel so terrible all the time.

      I am 27 and this all started a couple of years ago. I had a checkup (no tests done, no health insurance and we are poor) and the doctor strongly advised I get help soon because she said hyperthyroidism looked to be the problem. I have always had insomnia and trouble staying asleep. High anxiety, high blood pressure, very irritable, no appetite, nausea, always sweaty hands, itching, using the bathroom a ton, hair falling out, tremors, joint pain, lost 50 lb. very fast, headaches, super bad memory, and very emotional. I hate being alive.

      Because of hyperthyroidism, I lost my weight, experienced severe hunger, loss of sleepiness, and severe skin itching.

      Could it be my thyroid?

      Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland which weighs less than an ounce. It perches unobtrusively with its wings wrapped around the front of your windpipe (trachea), below your voice box (larynx). Despite its slight size, your thyroid controls the rate at which every cell, tissue, and organ in your body functions, from your muscles, bones, and skin to your digestive tract, brain, heart, and more. It does this primarily by secreting hormones that control how fast and efficiently cells convert nutrients into energy—a chemical activity known as metabolism—so that the cells can perform their functions.

      How the thyroid gland works

      Just as your car engine can't run without gasoline, your thyroid needs fuel to produce thyroid hormone. This fuel is iodine. Iodine is found in such foods as iodized table salt, seafood, bread, and milk. When you eat these foods, the iodine passes into your bloodstream. Your thyroid then extracts this necessary ingredient from your blood and uses it to make two kinds of thyroid hormone: thyroxine, called T4 because it contains four iodine atoms, and triiodothyronine, or T3, which contains three iodine atoms. The thyroid's output consists primarily of T4. Most of the T3 the body needs is created outside the thyroid in organs and tissues that use T3, such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. These tissues convert T4 from the thyroid into T3 by removing an iodine atom.

      As the thyroid produces thyroid hormone, it stores it in a vast number of microscopic follicles. When the body needs thyroid hormone, the thyroid secretes it into your bloodstream in quantities needed for the metabolic needs of your cells. The hormone easily slips into cells and attaches to special receptors.

      Your car engine burns fuel, but it is you who tells it how hard to work by stepping on the gas pedal. The thyroid also needs to be told what to do. It takes its orders from your pituitary gland, located at the base of your brain. No larger than a pea, the pituitary is sometimes known as the "master" gland, because it controls functions of the thyroid and other glands in the endocrine system. The pituitary gland signals the thyroid to tell it how much hormone to make. The messages come in the form of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH levels in your bloodstream rise or fall depending on whether there is enough thyroid hormone in your system. Higher levels of TSH prompt the thyroid to produce more hormone, until TSH levels come down to a constant level. Conversely, low TSH levels signal the thyroid to slow down production.

      When things go wrong

      Normally, the thyroid doles out just the right amount of hormone to keep your body running smoothly. TSH levels remain fairly constant, yet they respond to the slightest changes in T4 levels, and vice versa.

      But even the best network is subject to interference. Outside influences—such as disease or certain medicines—can break down communication. When this happens, the thyroid might not produce enough hormone, slowing down all of your body's functions, a condition known as hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid. Or your thyroid could produce too much hormone, sending your systems into overdrive, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid.

      Signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid

      The symptoms and course of hypothyroidism are quite variable. One person may become hypothyroid quickly over a few months, while another develops symptoms slowly over many years, making the condition even more difficult to detect. Generally speaking, the lower thyroid hormone levels fall, the more pronounced symptoms will be. Still, a person with severe disease might not experience severe symptoms. This is particularly true among older people. Following is a list of classic symptoms.

      • Constant tiredness
      • Cold intolerance
      • Loss of appetite
      • Weight gain
      • Slow pulse
      • Enlarged thyroid gland
      • Depression
      • Dry skin
      • Brittle fingernails
      • Hair loss
      • Constipation
      • Joint pain
      • Heavier menstrual periods
      • High cholesterol
      • Carpal tunnel syndrome

      More common in older people:

      • High cholesterol
      • Heart failure
      • Bowel movement changes constipation, or diarrhea
      • Joint pain or general muscular pain
      • Depression or psychosis
      • Dementia
      • Unsteadiness while walking

      Signs and symptoms of an overactive thyroid

      The symptoms of hyperthyroidism tend to come on slowly and also vary from person to person. It's not always obvious that symptoms such as excess thirst or increased appetite are an indication that something is wrong. Often, people don't see a doctor until they experience palpitations or shortness of breath.

      • Enlarged thyroid gland
      • Heat intolerance
      • Exhaustion
      • Emotional changes (insomnia, anxiety that is sometimes mixed with depression)
      • Nervousness
      • Excessive perspiration
      • Excessive thirst
      • Excessive hunger
      • Weight loss
      • Racing and irregular heartbeat
      • Fast pulse
      • Hand tremors
      • Muscle weakness
      • Diarrhea
      • Eye problems
      • Lighter menstrual periods
      • Infertility
      • Generalized itching (with or without hives)

      More common in older people